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Hot meals and Hugs: Why Thanksgiving at Trinity Cafe leads to good things

Thanksgiving at Trinity Cafe.
Posted at 5:15 PM, Nov 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-25 18:38:22-05

TAMPA, Fla. — If you've ever gone to bed hungry or spent a day without food, you know the feeling. It is hard to focus, concentrate and at times function. But, at Trinity Cafe, they make it their mission to feed people in need of nutritious meals 365 days a year. And, Thanksgiving is their super bowl.

The food can help someone struggling to pay bills and put food on their table while saving some money. And, the people they meet have access to valuable resources to get them back on their feet.

"Just be thankful it could be worse or better, but every day is Thanksgiving to me," Marty Davis said.

Most days, Davis eats at Trinity Cafe. He says he works part-time but would love to go full-time and work in a restaurant or construction.

"That would be great," Davis said.

Each person we interviewed, like Davis, has hope for their future and a story to tell.

Kenneth Newsome told ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska he is a bipolar schizophrenic, a condition that has significantly impacted his life.

"Believe me, I am every bit a paranoid schizophrenic (and) there ain't no help for that. But, I control it with my medication," Newsome said.

Newsome said Trinity Cafe was helping him get access to resources he wouldn't get anywhere else.

"I'm hungry all the time. I am in need of things," Newsome said. "I am the kind of person that appreciates little things. I need help out here. Trinity, this place here brought me in contact with people I have been going to see all my life for a long time. Trinity is a blessing for bums and tramps and hobo guys like me. It is a blessing for us."

Trinity Cafe served up more than 600 meals today. An army of volunteers catered to the needs of every person who walked through the front door. So thankful they could give back on such a special day.

"Breaking bread with folks is important, especially this time of year, but once again, Trinity Cafe is open 365 days a year. We always need volunteers here, so with that, I would say 'come out and check it out,'" said Jenn Tran, volunteer.

Tran is the Vice President of Human Resources and Organizations Engagement for the Tampa Bay Rays and Rowdies.

"I have no idea what challenges they have. I can't fathom what they are, but if I can smile and bring a little bit of joy to their life today, make eye contact with them, wish them a happy Thanksgiving that, to me, is impactful as well as providing a nutritious meal."

Feeding Tampa Bay runs Trinity Cafe. The need to feed people in the community is reaching unprecedented levels. Across their ten-county coverage area, the nonprofit served more than 95-million meals in 2020.

"This is still the most rewarding job that I have. It allows me to give back, and it makes you feel good to come to work and know you are doing something for somebody," Executive Chef Daniel Lawrence Graves Senior said.